by Clint Spaar
I was looking in all the local Want Ads for about 4 months. Not too many CJ-3Bs up here in New England. I took a trip to see a few other Willys CJ's, but I knew if I found one a distance away, transporting it home would be a problem. I was about to buy a CJ-2A, when in August there was a CJ-3B listed for sale in the very next town over from me in New Hampshire. I couldn't pass it up, and I was able to drive it home, just 4 miles.
The previous owner had only had it for about 2 months, but had put a 2-inch Superlift on it, and another prior owner had replaced the tire rims and the seats. Other than that it was mostly stock. Engine, drive train, frame all seem fine... it starts up easily without any smoke, which I have heard is common with F-heads. The tailgate is rough but original, and the hood is slightly bent but also original (70K JPEG).
The body is in rough shape -- the prior owner riveted sheets of metal over the original body from the doors back to the tail gate, and put a large steel panel over the original rear bed. Driver and passenger floors are solid but need some patching. So I would like to just repair this body with panels if I can, rather than a whole tub replacement, but I won't know what is salvageable until I start peeling away the material riveted on. Surprisingly, most of the tool box is there, except for the lid.
So far I have flushed the radiator, changed the oil, cleaned the oil bath air filter, and repaired the treadle pedal linkage. (See a photo of the engine, 40K JPEG.) I started taking apart the badly mutilated steering wheel to see what I can salvage there...will need a new horn assembly, steering wheel, and center steering shaft. Because the seats are not original, I will be looking for some of those.
I only have an unheated barn with a dirt floor to work on my project, so now that the cold weather is settling into New England, my CJ-3B project will be put on hold until spring. Over the winter I plan to buy parts that I will need for this project. I will probably do a frame up rebuild on this Jeep, bringing it back to almost original condition. Original color of this CJ-3B was Beryl Green, but when I rebuild it I am going to go with a Desert Sand color.
This will be a learning experience for me since I haven't done any prior restorations.
-- Clint Spaar
Thanks to Clint for the photos. We're looking forward to watching this restoration continue. -- Derek Redmond
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